Statement by Captain Mark Bathurst,
Chairman of the United Master Executive Council
Of the Air Line Pilots Association,
Regarding United Airlines’ Christmas
Holiday Flight Cancellations

December 26, 2007

“While United management basks in the afterglow of their multimillion dollar stock dividend to themselves this Christmas holiday, their mismanagement of the airline left thousands of Christmas travelers stranded at airports all across the country. According to press reports, American Airlines cancelled few flights while operating in the same weather environment. Southwest Airlines cancelled none.

“United’s management made a feeble attempt to shift the blame to weather for what is becoming an annual debacle -- flight cancellations due to crew shortages when recovering from bad weather. United management seems to be continually surprised by these winter snowstorms which history shows occur with some regularity throughout the Midwest between November and April. Internally, a memo was sent out by one pilot flight office properly blaming the service meltdown on ‘…several winter weather events in the Midwest and heavily congested northeast corridor (that) have increased flight duty times, exhausted monthly maximum hours earlier than normal in the month and reduced available crew reserves.’ The statement explicitly stated that the shortages were not the result of any pilot job action or excessive sick leave usage.

“It is unconscionable that United would allow this gaping hole in the schedule during the most critical time of year for holiday travelers and then try to shift the blame to acts of God. This is nothing but further evidence of a leadership team that is simply incapable of managing a world-class airline. United has the finest and most complete route structure in the industry and an infrastructure on par with anyone with which to compete. However, given that this management is constantly ‘surprised’ by elements with which other airlines routinely deal, it is long overdue for drastic and deep systemic changes in the management of this airline. This past week only serves as further evidence of the pervasive operational incompetence under which United’s employees have had to suffer.”

ALPA Contacts:    
Dave Kelly   Captain Steve Derebey
708/704-5648   253/279-8260